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Our Approach to Tutoring Children with Dyslexia

Teaching children with dyslexia in a regular class is often a tough task for both teachers and students. Although it might be frustrating, the amount of satisfaction that tutors get when they finally see a dyslexic student start to make progress and grow in their academics is immeasurable.

Over the years, after handling various students with dyslexia, growing to understand their needs and how best to approach their academics, we resolved to start dyslexic tutoring to provide these amazing students with the support they needed to develop academically and socially. We have heard immense success with our unique approach to dyslexic tutoring.

Find the Right Tutors

The first, perhaps the most valuable step in tutoring dyslexic students is finding the right tutor. It’s not always easy because the requirements for dyslexic tutors are often highly demanding.

The tutors we choose to work with dyslexic students have to be patient, kind and creative. Stimulating different senses of the student requires a creative mind that is regularly coming up with new ways to keep the students engaged.

The Tutors also have to be conversant with the most common reading languages for dyslexic students. These include Multi-sensory Structured Language Education and Orton-Gillingham approach, which is also used for dyslexic tutoring and teaching.

Most of our tutors have mastered several programs. We understand that different schools prefer different programs. To avoid confusion, the tutor will match the program and the material to what the student is accustomed to yielding positive results that extend to schoolwork.

Understand the Student

Before we can jump in and start tutoring, we value taking time to understand the student to find the most practical and effective ways of helping them.

Although dyslexic students have the same difficulties, which often include confusing letters p, b, and d, we also know from experience that the child might have other learning difficulties. Taking time to understand their needs allows the tutor to come up with a comprehensive dyslexic tutoring program that covers all these challenges and gives the student the best chance at success.

Creating a comprehensive approach

When it comes to tutoring dyslexic students, you can settle for just one method of teaching. You have to involve the student as much as possible. Our tutors use the Orton Gillingham approach and implement all the teaching methods known to be effective with dyslexic students.

These include:

  • Multi-sensory – Because dyslexia affects the way the brain processes visual information, engaging other senses like sound and touch helps the students to create references that work around this deficit.
  • Direct – Being simple and direct with dyslexic students when explaining what they need to learn, how it will be taught, and why it is important is vital to their development.
  • Sequential and systematic – One of the reasons why you need to understand the student you will be tutoring is because it allows you to know what they have mastered and what they are struggling with. Tutoring dyslexic students requires patience and positive reinforcement, having a systematic approach that allows the students to build on what they learn until they master it.
  • Emotionally sound – Successfully tutoring a dyslexic child requires focusing on their positive attributes and on their success in learning prior skills. It requires creating a learning environment that nurtures a positive mental attitude and builds self-esteem. These allow the student to make mistakes and learn from them.

Understanding the Do’s and Don’ts

Dyslexic students have unique demands and require a different approach to tutoring. Every competent dyslexic tutor should know the dos and don’ts of working with a student with dyslexia. Some that seem normal and foster learning in other students might not work with dyslexic students. Some of the things you shouldn’t do with a child who has dyslexia include:

  • Don’t ask them to read aloud. They might not be good at it just yet, which can lead to embarrassment and a sense of failure.
  • Don’t ask the student to copy things from a board or text
  • Don’t expect them to complete the assignment quickly. Allow them more time.

Knowing and understanding how important it is to avoid these don’ts is critical in ensuring you don’t take away the gains the student has made and the effort they have put in to be where they are. Instead, you should highlight their successes and positively reinforce areas they need to work on.

Some additional tips we use in our approach in tutoring dyslexic students include:

  • Create a conducive learning environment without distractions to allow the student to focus on the tasks at hand.
  • Incorporate technology into the lessons like text-to-speech screen readers and use of audiobooks and headphones during the sessions.
  • Involving parents so they know how they can participate in helping with their child’s academic success.
  • Keeping parents updated on their child’s progress and ensuring they learn how to follow up on what their child is practicing and possible non-academic skills they can teach the child to make them more successful in life.

Conclusion

Dyslexic tutoring takes more than an expert tutor who has the experience and a track record of success. Dyslexic tutors are cut from a different cloth. They know how to nurture, remain patient, and build a bond that breeds love and trust between them and the child. Using these traits and qualities and our unique approach to tutoring, we have achieved exceptional results over the years with dyslexic students.

12 Teaching Strategies to Use for Tutors

Tutors have created a reputation for achieving exceptional results with the students they work with. Most of that success has been through using unique teaching methods that appeal to their students and help them understand the concepts they struggle with within school.

But that is not always the case. Although the results might suggest being a tutor and getting great results seems like a walk in the park, the opposite is actually true. Like teachers, tutors struggle most especially in finding ways to keep their students engaged and helping them understand different concepts.

If you find yourself struggling to find new ways to teach, reach out and engage your students, this guide covers different teaching strategies that could help you get excellent results on tutoring.

  1. Visualisation

One of the best ways to keep students engaged is with visual and practical learning. This is more so the case for students who are visual learners. Whether you’re tutoring online or face to face, there are unlimited opportunities to integrate visual cues that can help make the session more interesting.

For example, you could use the interactive whiteboard to display photos, videos and audio clips to help the student digest and understand the information better.

  1. Inquiry-based instructions

Thought-provoking questions are an excellent way to inspire your students to think for themselves and become more independent thinking.

Allowing students to ask questions also allows them to investigate their own ideas and work their own paths to understanding different concepts. It is also an ideal way to improve the problem-solving skills of the student.

  1. Differentiation

As a tutor, you’re going to work with numerous students with varying academic abilities, sometimes several students at a time. Differentiation is one of the strategies that tutors use to get the most out of their students.

Using this strategy, tutors can allocate tasks based on the student’s abilities. It ensures no one is left behind. It also means that students with higher academic capabilities are stretched while those struggling get the support they need.

  1. Technology

Technology has been one of the main factors driving success among tutors, and you can use it to your advantage. Digital media is deeply engraved in young people, making using technology an excellent strategy for teaching.

By using technology, you can make learning more interactive. Technology also makes learning more engaging and allows the students to instantly research their ideas, creating autonomy, improving problem-solving skills, and allowing students to find answers to concepts they’re having challenges with.

  1. Summative and Formative Assessments

Summative assessment takes place after a block of work has been completed, while formative assessments occur day to day. These are used to gauge the pupil’s understanding of the topic. Using both types of assessment helps the student retain information longer. For tutors, this type of assessment also helps to determine the effectiveness of your teaching methods.

One reason formative and summative assessments are an invaluable teaching strategy is because they also help highlight potential learning gaps and misconceptions, which the tutor can then find ways of working on.

  1. Games

Games play a critical role in the development of a child. They are one of the few things that can keep the attention and focus of a child the longest. Using games as a teaching strategy improves attention span and makes the tutoring sessions more fun and interactive.

Most students are more likely to remember concepts taught through games longer because they are more relatable and interactive. This strategy is particularly effective for tutors working with young students who might have challenges focusing for long or sitting still. Games are also handy when tutoring subjects like maths and science.

  1. The Pause Procedure

The pause procedure was initially a strategy developed for lecturers to help improve retention. Using this strategy, the lecture would pause their lecture after every 15 minutes, giving the students time to get their minds around what you have just said. The two- or three-minute pauses given to the student allowed them to digest the material already shared.

The same strategy works the same way for the same reasons in tutoring. With tutoring, you can ask the student to summarise what you have just presented. You could also try to find out if they have any questions. For group tutorials, ask the students to explain to each other what they have just learned.

Another approach to the pause strategy is to ask the students to take a short test or complete a problem using the skills you have just explained.

  1. Fast-paced drills

You will be surprised what a bit of adrenaline and competitiveness can do in helping a student understand a concept.

Fast-paced drills are perfect when working through multiplication tables, periodic table elements, or other subjects and topics that require a lot of memory work.

Under fast-paced drills, you can also try to introduce short-timed tests. These are a great way to get quick feedback on the progress of the students while testing their memory and non-calculator skills.

  1. Alternation

Most tutors rarely use this teaching strategy. Perhaps because of the fear of losing control of the class and their position. But alternation is an effective teaching strategy that every tutor should try out.

In this strategy, the tutee and the tutor alternate roles. You let the tutee tutor you, and you play their role. Alternation gives you insight into how well the student has internalised the content that you have shared with them, and it also gives you an opportunity to understand their point of view.

This strategy is perfect for lessons that feature essay exams where the student will need to explain things to you. Just remember to give the student enough time to gather their thoughts when using this method.

  1. Application

One of the best ways for a student to learn is to do something independently. It is also the only way to be sure that they have understood the concept. After doing your bit, you should let the student apply what they have learnt. If it is a math problem, let them do a problem or two on their own. You can then have a look at it and go over it step by step correcting areas where they made a mistake.

  1. Humour

The use of humour during your tutoring sessions can reduce pressure and increase the level of engagement drastically. Sprinkling funny jokes and quotes and dedicating a few minutes to laughing can help break down monotony, refocus the student and re-energise them to grasp what you’re saying.

You can also work in humour in explaining some concepts, which will make them relatable and easier to understand for the student.

  1. Feedback

As a tutor, the student is your client. As you try out the different teaching strategies, there’s no better person to tell you what’s working and what is not than the student. Make sure you request feedback from the student regularly. You might not consider this a teaching strategy, but it is one of the most important strategies you can employ as a tutor.

It not only helps you to better refine your teaching tactics and have better and meaningful sessions with your students, but it also helps you become a better tutor by understanding the most effective teaching strategies and the ones that have the most impact on your students.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot involved in being a good tutor, but how you teach and your approach will most likely make the greatest impact. With these teaching strategies, you have new ways to pass information and avoid monotony, making your lessons boring.

Best Jobs for Ex-Teachers in Australia

Teaching is considered one of the best careers. Not only because it’s attractive and rewarding but also because it is versatile and the skills acquired in training and through experience are vastly applicable to a variety of other professions.

Once you retire as a teacher, there is a plethora of other jobs you can pursue using the same teaching skills, some with no additional training at all. This only makes teaching a more attractive profession.

If you’re an ex-teacher in Australia looking for work or supplement your income, here are other jobs you can pursue post teaching.

If You Want to Stay in Teaching

If you’re passionate about teaching and would like to keep pursuing a career in education post your teaching career, there are numerous jobs you can consider. Some closer to your teaching past than you would expect.

School administrator

As a school administrator, you will work on the planning and operational aspects of teaching, which is quite close to what you were doing as a teacher. This is an excellent option if you want to keep working in a school setup. As a school administrator, you can work as a principal or work in the department of education in your city.

One of the perks of being a school administrator is, the salary is impressive, and you don’t have to worry about additional training to land the job.

Academic Advisor or counsellor

A role as an academic advisor or counsellor allows you to play a slightly different role in the lives of students but is equally important. In your capacity as a counsellor or advisor, you will help students grow and develop.

You will need to know what students need to successfully pursue their goals in their next academic stage, which can be at the high school or college level.

Although the salary for an academic counsellor is not as impressive as that of a school administrator, you don’t have to deal with the frustrating part of teaching, which is making lesson plans. At the same time, you will still have imparted your knowledge to students.

Tutoring

Tutoring jobs is one of the best for ex-teachers in Australia. It is closely attached to your teaching roots, doesn’t require any additional training and because you were a teacher, that gives you a significant edge because of your understanding of the Australian curriculum.

One of the benefits of taking up tutoring is you become your own boss. Your hours are more flexible, which allows you to enjoy your free time while doing what you love.

As a teacher, finding a competent tutoring agency in Australia won’t be difficult. Teachers often make great tutors. Tutoring allows you to extend your teaching skills beyond the classroom walls.

The experience is more or less the same and is just as rewarding. With online tutoring, you work with various students with varying challenges. But the goal is the same – helping students excel academically.

If You Want a New Career Without New Training

Teachers have loads of valuable skills, including public speaking, time management, organisation, adaptability and empathy. These skills are applicable in various other roles, and in some cases, you won’t require any additional training to adjust to your new career. Some of these careers include:

Content marketing

As a teacher, it is your duty to understand people, inspire them, motivate them, instruct and coach them. These are the same skills you need as a content marketer. The only difference is that you will be convincing people to do or buy certain things in this line of work.

Content marketing is a particularly good profession for teachers who were specialising in English and literature because most of it is through the written word.

The salary is great, and there is potential to advance. Most content marketing jobs are freelance, which allows you to enjoy your retirement or free time and make some money on the side.

Coordinator or project manager

After running curriculums and school programs for the better part of your life, running and coordinating a project might not feel like much of a task. This niche will lean on your organisational skills as a teacher.

As a project manager, you’re expected to design and run systems across departments. The exact expectations of the job might vary slightly depending on the sector, but mostly, the requirements and the skills are the same.

One of the factors that might attract you to this profession is the salary. You will probably earn better than you were when you were a teacher.

HR Specialist

As an ex-teacher, you still have valuable skills and characteristics that can be applied in the human resource department. You can still understand people, advocate for their interests, and you can navigate systems.

If you would still like to tap into your empathy and drive to help people, a career in human resources could be the next best thing for you. Ex-teachers are most likely to succeed in this line of work because of their organisational skills and approachable personalities.

Career coach

Career coaches have similar roles to the academic consultants covered earlier. The only difference is the level at which each does their job. As a career coach, you’re not helping students determine what they need to get into high school or college. Instead, you’re working with professionals, helping them articulate their goals and help them in creating plans to help them achieve those goals.

As an ex-teacher, you have probably done this many times pro-bono. It is about time you get paid for it. Like teaching, career coaching comes with substantial satisfaction like teaching and builds on the same qualities of leader, manager and coach that you acquire as a teacher.

Final Thoughts

The scope of jobs you can try after your teaching career is unlimited. The only limit is your creativity and what you’re willing to try. Teachers can become video game testers, insurance agents and entrepreneurs. It all depends on your preferences, goals, and how much you’re willing to push yourself. Some jobs might require additional training, but the qualities that made you a great teacher are the ones you will need for a successful post-teaching career.

Parent-Teacher Interview Questions

Although often dreaded by parents and students, parent-teacher interviews give you a rare insight into how your child is doing school. Unfortunately, most parents go into these meetings unprepared and often don’t ask the right questions, which could help them to shed light on the performance of the child.

If you’re keen on following the progress of your child in school, it is about time you paid more attention to these interview meetings.

What are Parent-Teacher Interviews?

Through the course of your child’s education in primary and high school, you will be invited to your fair share of parent-teacher interviews, which are also called short meetings.

The meeting often takes place once or twice a year, and contrary to what most parents believe, being invited to this meeting doesn’t always mean there’s a problem. Instead, these meetings are a great opportunity for you to explore your child’s progress in school and also understand their challenges.

Consider these interviews as one of the many talks you’re going to have with your child’s teachers in a bid to stay involved in their academic life.

Granted, these interviews can be challenging for parents, especially if you’re meeting the teachers for the first time. But rest assured that teachers are just as nervous as you are when sitting for these meetings.

However, you shouldn’t see the teachers as adversaries. Instead, you should try to work with them, and together, you can make a formidable front that provides your child with the support they need to achieve academic excellence.

Why Should You Go To Parent-Teacher Interviews?

Most parents don’t get the essence of going to parent-teacher interviews. Others believe the meetings often address something wrong at school, usually a disciplinary case. On the contrary, these interviews are a great way to find out more about how your child has been doing in school.

The meetings are essential, especially if you have teenagers who prefer not to talk about what is happening at school. Teachers spend a significant amount of time with the children and can easily observe how your child behaves and develops. During the interview, the teachers can share what they have seen. These meetings can also help you in various ways, including;

  • Meet and get to know the teachers behind your child’s success
  • In case there are challenges, discuss with the teachers how you can support the child
  • Build relations with the child’s school
  • Help the teachers get to know your child better.

Should You Bring the Child With You?

Although these are called parent-teacher interviews, it is highly recommended to bring your child along, especially if they are in secondary school. For younger students, you can use your judgment.

For some schools, it is the expectation that students should attend, while in others, they make it optional. Bringing older students along is often beneficial, although they are often nervous at first. They feel better being a part of the conversation, and it instils a sense of responsibility for their learning.

How to Prepare for the Interview

Most parents are overwhelmed by the idea of meeting the teachers who come prepared with assessment results and a list of classroom concerns. For parents, it feels like walking into an ambush. But you also have some preparation of your own to do.

Start by reading your child’s school report carefully. If possible, note down some of the points you would like to discuss with the teacher. You can also compile a list of questions to ask. Take the list with you to help you stay on track.

What Questions Should You Ask?

While you prepare questions of your own, you should also be prepared to answer some from the teacher. Most teachers will most likely ask questions related to “Do you know what we’ve been doing in class?” This is the teacher’s way of trying to understand how engaged you are with your child’s academics.

When it’s your turn, you can ask any questions you have. If you don’t have any, here are a few that can help you cover as much ground as possible.

  • How is my child doing in a specific class or subject?
  • What is my child most interested in, and what are his strengths?
  • Are there any areas my child struggles with, or do you have any concerns with?
  • Is there anything I can do to support my child’s learning at home?
  • How does my child participate or respond in the class environment?
  • Does my child get along well with other students? Who do they work best with?
  • Are there any available support services for my child at this school? If so, what are they?

It’s important to organise your questions to keep the conversation on track. They will also make sure you have a meaningful conversion around your child’s academic progress.

Parent-Teacher Interview Tips

It’s normal to feel nervous when attending a parent-teacher interview. In most cases, you don’t know what to expect. However, these few tips will help break the ice and ensure you get as much progress as possible from the meeting.

First, you need to keep the conversation open and friendly. Starting with positive communication with the teacher shows respect and appreciation for what the teacher is doing.

Avoid being defensive at all costs, even when you disagree with feedback about your child. Listen carefully and attentively and respond thoughtfully.

If you don’t understand anything, you can ask the teacher to explain or clarify some for if you don’t understand what is being said.

If you have any concerns, try to be specific but avoid blame. Combine your requests with understanding by mentioning something positive at the same time. This alleviates the feeling of blame and defensiveness and ensures that you both express yourselves freely for the benefit of the child.

Closing Remarks

Most parents consider parent-teacher interviews as more of a stare-down that is mainly dominated by the teacher. However, this shouldn’t be the case. It should be more of a discussion between the two and possibly your child to address how best to support your child academically. It helps to do a little homework and know what to ask the teacher or highlight any potential concerns that you might have.

How to Become an Online Tutor

The online tutoring space is growing at a rapid speed. Online tutoring is a job that appeals to people of all ages and with varying skills. The ability to make a decent income is a great driving force for most people considering becoming an online tutor. However, there is also the satisfaction of knowing you helped someone improve their grades and achieve their goals.

If you’re considering becoming an online tutor, the first step is ensuring you have as much information as possible to help you get into the right space and make you appealing to both students and potential employers.

Determine Your Requirements

The best place to start is stock-taking to determine what you’re qualified for. Online tutoring accommodates people at different stages of their education and careers.

You should research and analyse the different niches before you can jump into online tutoring. Depending on your level of education and understanding of different subjects, you can target students in different years in the Australian educational system.

You can consider online tutoring if you’re a professional tutor, a retired teacher, or even a university student. You just need to be good at what you do to make yourself appealing to people looking for your services.

Know and Understand Your Students

Understanding your students will help you take the appropriate approach and have the right mindset to start online tutoring. Take time to understand the needs and requirements of the student.

What age is the student who needs your help? Which areas do they need help in? Based on the age, location and behaviour of the students, you can use these characteristics to tailor your approach.

Choose a subject topic

Most aspiring online tutors go with the subjects they understand and excel at best. It makes it easy to remain patient and come up with creative ways to teach students struggling with the same subject. Often, going with the subject you’re most comfortable teaching yields the best results because your passion also comes out.

Check the Requirements

Becoming a tutor in Australia takes more than just being good at a particular subject. You need to have completed high school with a high ATAR. This will show good academic transcripts, especially if you want to tutor as a university student. Online tutoring services are instantly attracted to the best-performing students.

Why not also read: How is ATAR Calculated?

You will also need an undergraduate teaching degree to tutor higher-level students, like a bachelor of education. That might take about four years to complete. You should also have completed 12 or gone through a similar pathway to tutoring higher classes.

Online tutors in Australia will also need to complete a Working with Children Check. Some online tutoring platforms don’t compromise on this. If you would like further professional accreditation, you can join the Australian Tutoring Association.

Choose an Online Platform to Sell Your Courses 

Once all your qualifications are in order, it’s time to find an online tutoring platform where you can sell your courses and tutoring services. The best approach is to go with an already established tutoring business. This saves you from advertising costs and other related costs. You get instant access to a vast pool of students who use the services, and you can start making money almost instantly.

When choosing an online platform, it’s essential to do thorough research to find the best and the most reputable platforms that offer competitive rates and a conducive environment for you and the students you will be tutoring.